The court is due to issue 33 opinions, a whopping 53% of its expected total in argued cases, as its 2021-22 term comes to an end in the next month. Among those will be rulings that could effectively render abortion illegal in two dozen states and mean more handguns on the streets.
The historic backlog — the biggest in percentage terms since at least 1950, according to empiricalscotus.com founder Adam Feldman — comes as the justices and their law clerks deal with an investigation into the leak of a draft opinion overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion-rights ruling. All told, it’s a formula for what could be a momentous and rancorous final month.
“June is invariably a hectic and contentious time at the court,” said Greg Garre, a Washington appellate lawyer who served as solicitor general under then-President George W. Bush. “And in that sense, this June will be no different. But the storm clouds obviously look more severe in terms of what could lie ahead.”